Still reeling from killing his former love, Logan hides himself out in the woods. When he tracks a hunting using illegal poison-tipped arrows, he lets himself come out of hiding and mysteriously ends up agreeing to travel to Japan to visit a dying man he once saved. Once he gets to Tokyo, Yashinda explains to him that he wishes to take away Logan’s pain and transfer away his power to allow Logan to become mortal. Initially, he refuses the offer, but he gets poisoned and begins to feel what it is like to remain injured when taking the full blow of his aggressors.
Starring: Hugh Jackman (Logan), Tao Okamoto (Mariko), Rila Fukushima (Yukio), Hiroyuki Sanada (Shingen), Svetlana Khodchenkova (Viper), Brian Tee (Noburo), Hal Yamanouchi (Yashinda), Will Yun Lee (Harada), Ken Yamamura (Young Yashida), Famke Janssen (Jean Grey)
While Jackman was able to bring his somewhat stoic performance back to the role of Wolverine, this was his second attempt at the story of this one X-Men legend. His action sequences were strong but his more dramatic moments were a little too even-keeled. Okamoto did serve as a kind yet emotionally-engaging counterpart, while Fukushima provided a bit more of the action to complement Jackman’s scenes. Khodchenkova was a bit over-the-top and awkward as one of the villains, while Yamanouchi started strong but seemed a bit uneven as the story progressed.
New to the X-Men universe, James Mangold looked to improve upon the previous attempt at a solo Wolverine film. This time, the story jumped ahead to after the events of X3: The Last Stand, where Wolverine was challenged by the death of Jean Grey and removed himself from civilization. This was a bit in contrast to how Logan appeared at the end of X3. Still, giving Logan more of a background, besides his infusion with adamantium, was what the fans wanted. From a bit more of the backstory, it is learned that Logan was in Hiroshima during WWII and saved a Japanese officer from certain death. Being able to grant Wolverine the mortality he seemed to be striving for was what was driving Yashinda near the end of his life. When the whole experience got complicated following Yashinda’s funeral, it left Wolverine in a place of vulnerability and sorting out his feelings over the loss of a great love.
Wolverine’s mortality was something that truly made this film interesting. In the previous X-Men films, Wolverine faced a number of foes that stretched him to the limit, but he was always able to recover. Magneto could manipulate his metallic skeleton or Lady Deathstrike having her own infusion of adamantium, but both failed to actually kill or permanently hurt him. Due to a incident surrounding Yashinda’s death, Wolverine was left without his full healing ability. For the first time he could remember, he was truly experiencing pain and the possibility of death. Having a partner who could see future deaths did not make his troubles any less, as she saw him laying blood with his heart in his hand. This certainly could add a new element for his appearance in any future films of the series.
There is a lot to enjoy about this film. Wolverine is the most appreciated and intriguing of the X-Men characters, but this film still exhibits some imbalance like the Origins film.
Dan’s Rating: 3.0/5